Monday, November 29, 2010

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Truffle Oil Crostini


Have you ever had an appetizer that just transports you to another level? I had such an experience on Saturday night. We were invited to a surprise birthday party that actually turned out to be a complete surprise for our dear friend Phil. His daughter and wife put the entire event together. The look on his face when he walked through the living room was priceless.























One of Phil’s favorite restaurants is Wood Tavern in Oakland. Wood Tavern was born in 2007 from the vision of Executive Chef Maximillian DiMare and in partnership with Rich and Rebekah Wood. It is a contemporary American Brasserie and the cuisine is inspired by California culture and local ingredients. Since his wife shares a great admiration for this restaurant also, she was able to secure two key employees from Wood Tavern to cater and tend bar at the party.




















One of the employees is a private chef and caterer. He had owned a couple restaurants in Manhattan and is a wonderful chef. The cocktail for the evening was a classic Manhattan. I had a sip of my husbands and quite frankly, it resembled lighter fluid – way too strong for my tastes, but it was one of Phil’s favorites.



















There was a table full of appetizers ranging from goat cheese with pistachios adorning the plate, a charcuterie of cured meats and pate to a gourmet cheese platter to assorted crostini’s. Let’s just say that I was in appetizer heaven! Quite frankly, a meal of appetizers is right up my alley.

























There was one particular appetizer that simply amazed me. It was Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Truffle Oil Crostini and was completely unique with amazing flavors. After the appetizer course, the chef served a farmers market salad, garlic bread and lasagna.























After a while I made it to the kitchen to chat with the chef/caterer about this divine appetizer. We chatted about how he came up with the idea along with the preparation. It is such simple ingredients, but the combination was simply stunning. He shared another preparation for Brussels sprouts as a side dish that I will test and write a blog post later. It contains brown sugar and pancetta among other glorious ingredients. Stay tuned.
























While decorating the house yesterday for the holidays, I took a break and recreated this Crostini. Phil’s wife actually stopped by yesterday as I was making the Crostini and once she sampled it, she thought it was a dead ringer for the one at the party. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!


Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan and Truffle Oil Crostini

Makes 30 Crostini

12 to 14 Large Brussels Sprouts
3 Garlic cloves, minced
½ C. Shaved parmesan
1 T. Lemon juice
6 T. Butter
2 T. Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Truffle oil
Baguette, 30 ½ inch slices

Use either a mandolin or chefs knife to slice each Brussels sprouts thin. Cut off the bottom stem and then slice thin. In a large sauté pan melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the garlic, Brussels sprouts and cook for about two minutes. Take off the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Add a light drizzle of the truffle oil & the lemon juice and taste, then adjust until desired levels are achieved. Toss in the parmesan cheese and add more if desired.

Brush each Crostini on each side with olive oil. Place onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until lightly brown. About 5 minutes into cooking, flip each Crostini over to ensure even browning. Remove and let cool.

To assemble, add about one heaping teaspoon of Brussels sprouts mixture to each toasted bread and lay onto a serving platter of your choice.  Serve room tempurature.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

{ Pumpkin Soup with Blue Cheese, Mushrooms and Pecans }


Thanksgiving 2010 has come and gone like a flash of light. The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. The air has certain crispness and there is a sense of happiness all around. It is a time where shopping malls are crowded, scents of holiday cookies fill houses to a jam packed social calendar with fun holiday events abounding.

It is a cold, raining Saturday morning as I write this post. We were up early to decorate the house since it is an all day event. I grew up with a real Christmas tree that was flocked to simulate a just snow frosted tree, even thought it rarely snows in the Bay Area. To this day my parents still purchase the same type of tree.




















{ Pumpkin Soup with Pecan-Cheddar Gougeres }

For several years, we carried on this tradition until a trip one day to home depot forever changed Christmas at our house. There it was – the “Perfect Tree”. It stood nine feet tall with two distinct types of branches and each light was perfectly positioned all throughout the tree. Let's just say it impressed me enough to change to an artificial tree.

We now go to the garage, unpack the three part tree, snap it into place, plug in the lights and instantly we have what I call – “My Neiman Marcus Christmas Tree”. Each year it is perfect. I simply add my ornaments and for the next 5 to 6 weeks it adorns our living room and brings the holiday spirit to life.

























Next is the staircase to decorate. I have four strands of different greens and embellishments to adorn the staircase. Our stairs sit right in the middle of the house and are a definite focal point when you enter the front door. I grew up with a curved staircase that my Mom always decorates and was the inspiration for my holiday touches.

Our entire family collects “Department 56” which is small decorative houses and buildings. We are fond of “Christmas in the City” and “Dickens Village”. I must admit that it is a bit of an addition with our family. Since it is a labor intensive process to erect these throughout the house, we were strategic this year by putting on top of bookcases for easy assembly and take down.




















Other finishing touches will be completed today both inside and outside our home to have it ready to enjoy through the season. Although it is a process, we have the holiday music piped throughout the house and enjoy this tradition of decorating the house during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. My husband and enjoyed a piping hot mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows. We will then be ready for celebrating in our home with friends throughout this joyful time of year.

To carry on the tradition of the Thanksgiving weekend, I am a bit obsessed with pumpkin this year and created a pumpkin soup that was originally from Cooks Illustrated: Soups, Stews and Chilies. I put my own spin on the soup and creative toppings. Enjoy!!





















Pumpkin Soup with Blue Cheese, Mushrooms and Pecans

2 T. Butter
1 T. Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
2 Ribs celery, finely chopped
1 t. Cumin
1 t. Coriander
1/4 t. Nutmeg
3 C. Chicken broth, plus extra for thinning
1 - 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/3 C. Maple syrup
1/2 C. Milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dry roasted pecans and blue cheese for garnish

Sautéed Mushrooms

12 to 14 Baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 T. Butter
1 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and toss well in the butter and olive oil until coated. Cook over medium high heat for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper

Directions:

Melt the butter and olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. Continue to sauté and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in the broth, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the soup to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and syrup and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Use an emulsion blender to puree the soup until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the milk and additional broth to adjust the soup's consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and heat gently over low heat until hot. Garnish individual bowls with pecans, mushrooms and blue cheese.





Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Scones



We attended a lovely wedding last Saturday that was held at a historic church in the East Bay. The church is small and symbolic of the Little House on the Prairie era. It was a cold and rainy day, which I hope did not put a damper (no pun intended) on the bride and grooms day. The weather seemed to cooperate with the day’s schedule. My husband and I arrived just in time to capture the last two seats in the main portion of the church. These seats gave a bird’s eye view of the aisle along with the bride entering the church with her father.





















The bride is one of my dear employees. On this day she looked radiant in her stunning gown, hair perfectly tousled and make up done to perfection. Knowing this bride at work, she is much more casual with her hair pulled back and little make up; so I knew this was a special day for her and her betrothed groom. As she entered the church, I smiled at her and I noticed that she began to well up a bit. Later at the reception, she said to me that for whatever reason, I made her cry. I was touched. For the last several years we have worked closely together and I have seen her grow tremendously in her role and it has been so rewarding. I was honored to be invited to share in the joy of her special day.

























We drove home through the treacherous rain storm – our first big storm of the season. It was extremely rainy along with cold temperatures and nice to arrive home to have a cozy fire and a glass of wine. Thought it would be tasty to have croissants in the morning. I had purchased frozen ones from Trader Joe’s. All you do is set them out the night before on a lightly greased pan and they rise overnight. Well, once I came downstairs in the morning, I noticed that they did not rise one centimeter. After pondering, I realized that it was way too cold in the house, so into the garbage they went.






















Pumpkin scones have long been on my list of baked goodies to make. After perusing many recipes, I came across a wonderful recipe from Seven Spoons that I adapted to make them my own. Often the quantities that I make are too much for just the two of us. One of the greatest pleasures I know is to share with others, especially when I bake or make things. I completely enjoy the expression on the faces of the people I give things to. Sunday was such a day of giving.







































I asked Charles to ring our next door neighbors to see if they wanted some oven fresh pumpkin scones and of course the answer was yes. I thought that just Kirk would be over to pick them up, but we were pleasantly surprized that his lovely wife Stephane joined him. We had an impromptu visit with coffee and scones. What a great treat on a Sunday morning during this beautiful fall season.  I shot a few photos of our backyard during this brilliant time of the year.























Pumpkin Scones

4 ½ C. flour
½ C. Dark brown sugar, packed
1 ½ T. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 ½ t. cinnamon
¾ t. ground ginger
½ t. Nutmeg
¼ t. ground clove
1 C. (2 sticks) chilled butter, diced
2 Eggs, beaten
1 C. canned pumpkin purée
2/3 C. Milk
1 egg beaten with 2 T. milk, for egg wash
Granulated or sanding sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Use parchment paper, silpat or lightly greased baking sheet and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. On the machine's lowest setting, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles course meal. The butter should be in small pieces.

Lightly whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée and milk. With the machine on low, pour the liquids slowly into the flour and butter mixture, stirring until just combined. Small bits of butter should still be visible, but almost all the flour should be incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Working quickly, gently knead the dough, folding and pressing gently until smooth. Divide the dough in half and flatten with your hands to about one inch thick. Use a round two inch cookie cutter and cut rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue to flatten and cut rounds until the dough is gone. You will need to flour the board to prevent sticking. Once finished, brush each scone with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the the tops are lightly golden and the cut sides look flaky and dry. Cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 24 medium scones.

Spicy Glaze

1 C. Powdered sugar
2 T. Milk
1 t. Cinnamon
½ t. Nutmeg
¼ t. All spice
½ t. Ground cloves

When the scones are cooling, mix the confectioners sugar, spices and milk together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the scones while they are still warm.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pecan-Cheddar Gougères


I have a profound adoration for the legendary savory French pastry aptly named – Gougères. It is a French delight that is a savory choux pastry with cheese. You will find them in both small, finger sized or larger versions filled with earthy ingredients such as mushrooms, beef or ham. The larger versions are typically using a ring or pie tin. Stemming from the burgundy region of France, these bites of goodness are most commonly made with Gruyere cheese.























Yesterday was our annual office Thanksgiving celebration. The star of the event was the deep fried turkey that Joe brines for days in an array of secret ingredients. Brining adds flavor and moisture to this traditional holiday bird. The deep fryer is set up in a back corner of our parking lot and the timing is carefully orchestrated to coordinate with all of the side dishes. Typically the cooking time is one hour – hard to believe. Once Joe raised the cooked bird, he brings it inside to carve and we all have an irresistible urge to snag just one small taste before it is officially placed in the conference room.


















Everyone in the office signs up a few weeks ahead of time with their culinary contribution to the office feast. For the last several years, I have brought baked creamy yams with pecan crust. This year I switched out the yams for sweet potatoes – still delicious, yet I missed that vibrant orange color that is reminiscent of the fall season. Along with the sweet potato casserole, I brought Pecan-Cheddar Gougères. These savory French cheese puffs were a hit at the celebration and hard to contain yourself to just one.

























The feast was laid out in the conference room and before we dove into filling our plates, we gave thanks. Our thanks included working with such a great team of people, being healthy, happy and having a prosperous year with the bottom line.























Pecan-Cheddar Gougères

1 ½ C. Water
4 oz. (1/2 C.) butter, cut into 4 chunks
1 t. salt
½ t. cayenne
½ t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ C. flour
6 large eggs
3/4 cup lightly toasted chopped pecans
3/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment or use a silpat.

In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg over high, stirring to melt the butter. Bring to a boil and then dump in all the flour at once.

Take the pan off the heat and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until you get a smooth, thick paste. The dough should start to form a shiny ball and pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan.

When the dough is dry enough, take the pan off the heat. Transfer to a stand mixer bowl. Pour in 1 egg and then beat until it's well blended and the dough is smooth again. Repeat five more times. If you're using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Use only low speed and don't over mix or the puffs will be tough.

Add the pecans and Cheddar to the dough and carefully fold to distribute them. With a mini ice-cream scoop or two tablespoons, drop mounds about the size of a whole walnut shell onto the baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the heated oven until puffed, deep golden brown, and just barely moist inside, 20 to 25 minutes (you'll have to break one open to really check the doneness).Transfer the Gougères to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining dough. Serve when just barely warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container and you can pre-heat for 5 to 10 minutes at 400 to crisp.

*Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

{ 2006 Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon + Food Pairing Tips }


Do you ever have one of those wines, that you just say – wow? They stand out like a sore thumb and leave an impression on your palate that leaves you pondering and wanting more. The 2006 Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon is one such wine. Sequum (pronounced SEE-kwam) is a geological term for a vertical sequence or layer of soil.


























The owner is Paul Skinner, who is a soil scientist with a Ph.D. from University of Davis, California is one of the most influential presences in Napa Valley. He is the President of Terra Spase, which he formed in 1994 to offer GIS consulting services to vineyard owners and wineries. His client list is impressive and includes such well-known vintners as: Pride, Caymus, Colgin, Kistler, Harlan Estates, Staglin and Peter Michael.





















The wine is named Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon Four Soil Melange Napa Valley since it is a blend of grapes from four distinct soils – Ailen, Bale, Bressa and Contina. The result is a bold and opulent wine with savory flavors and abundant tannins. Beyond the beautiful label, is a medium-intensity red color and aromas of ripe berry, kirsch and raspberry that intermingle with hints of rich tea, chocolate and subtle spice tones. This lush wine introduces the palate to significant dried cherry and earthy tones characteristic of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged in 50% French Oak barrels to enhance the hint of vanilla and nutty flavors. Indications of cedar and cigar flavors add to the complexity of this brilliant wine, which can keep for 6 to 8 years for maximum enjoyment.

























Cabernet Sauvignon is an assertive and confident wine that can certainly overwhelm light and subtle dishes. Since this wine has high tannin and oak flavors along with a higher alcohol level, food style plays an important role is gaining the best pairing. In most cases, stick to matching the weight (alcohol and body) to the heaviness of the food. When paired with fattier foods, such as steak or fettuccine alfredo, the tannins are neutralized, allowing the fruits to become more noticeable. As cabernet ages, the tannins lessen, more subtle and bitter dishes will pair well. Other great pairings are red meats, flavorful and heartier pasta, lamb, strong flavored cheese and dark chocolate.

If you enjoy a long finish that leaves you wanting more and is not produced or sold to the masses, then try Sequum Cabernet Sauvignon. You will not be disappointed, I promise.



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dried Cherry and Port Chutney + Cowgirl Creamery Redhawk Cheese


Often on a Friday night, my husband and I enjoy unwinding from the week with a brilliant bottle of wine and appetizers. Sometimes they are homemade and other times; the frozen appetizers from Trader Joe’s hit the spot. Cheese is one of my favorite foods. Whether it is cow, sheep or goat milk varietals – I love them all.

My husband is a huge fan of the sheep milk cheeses especially the aged category. Cheese is such a terrific vehicle for entertaining. You should set it out about one hour before your guests arrive to have the flavors come alive by being at room temperature. This significantly reduces stress since you can prepare ahead of time and the appetizer is ready to go once the doorbell rings.

If you have ever visited the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco you know that it is a destination for local to global foodies. It is located along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street. You will find niche shops, cafes and restaurants. My favorite stops are: Cowgirl Creamery, Blue Bottle Coffee, Sur La Table, Far West Fungi, McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil and Miette.

Six new niche shops have been added to the vast array existing destinations. These new shops are all existing Bay Area businesses and now have a distinct presence in the grand Ferry Building Marketplace. They include: Alfieri Farms, Beekind Honey Shop, Benedetta Holistic Skincare, Charles Phan, El Porteño Empanadas and Pepples Donuts. Now even more reasons to visit the Ferry Building.
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My friend Helen and I have a goal to visit the Farmers Market one Saturday a month at the Ferry Building. Each time, we never miss the opportunity to stop into Cowgirl Creamery. We select our number off the free standing fixture and wait patiently for our number to be called. It can get extremely busy, but it is well worth the wait. We try new cheeses each time, but also have our staple favorites. Speaking of favorites, their Redhawk, washed rind cheese is a must try. Be ready for knock your socks off pungent smell, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this delectable cheese.
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As outlined in Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials book, you know it’s a washed-rind cheese when:
  • It has an orange, pinkish, reddish, or orangish-brown rind
  • It is semi-soft, creamy and often spoonable
  • It smells like dirty gym socks, the barnyard, or worse (but that is a good thing)
  • Generally small wheels or squares
  • It is in the refrigerated section at the cheese store
  • Often tacky or sticky when you touch the surface
  • A bit saltier than most other cheeses
I would highly recommend Laura's book for the complete insiders guide to buying and serving cheese.  Several months ago I had the opportunity to attend a cheese and wine pairing class of which Laura was one of the guest speakers on the panel at the SF Chef 2010 event held in San Francisco.















I typically serve Redhawk with an artesian fig jam or chutney. I recently created a recipe for a Dried Cherry and Port Chutney which was a perfect compliment to the Redhawk cheese. A few years ago, I discovered these wonderful crackers that are quite fancy but full of wonderful flavors. They are Raincoast Crisps and produced by Leslie Stowe and made in Canada. There are six unique flavors and I highly recommend the Salty Date and Almond or Fig and Olive flavor. I found mine at Whole Foods Market.

Charles and I had another splendid Friday night with wine and appetizers. Now that it is Saturday, we are relaxed and ready to enjoy the weekend.























Dried Cherry and Port Chutney

1 C. Dried Cherries, chopped finely
1 C. Port
1/3 C. White wine vinegar
2 T. Maple syrup
2 t. Fresh thyme leaves, minced

Add all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it is at a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer for 35 to 45 minutes until it is reduced a bit over half and not to much liquid remains. If you prefer it a bit smoother, add to a food processor after it has cooled a bit and pulse three or four times. Spoon into a small container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Caprese Bites


One of my favorite ways to entertain is to host a small cocktail party. Many think that a cocktail party must serve actual cocktails but that is not always the case. I prefer to serve wine and appetizers. It can be set up either formal or informal. With the most used room in the house being the kitchen, often my guests end up conjugating around the breakfast bar area and the conversation begins to blossom.

Other times, I will move the get together to our family room where we have two couches, chairs and a large ottoman that surround a large square coffee table. This coffee table houses the appetizers; small individual plates for my guests and of course the wine. Everyone has access to the nibbles and wine and the conversation is plentiful.

























Friday night I had invited a couple dear friends over to enjoy good wine, food and conversation. It was a long work week and I was looking forward to spending time with everyone and just relaxing. The key to successful entertaining is the planning and preparation you do ahead of time. Thursday evening I prepped the majority of the appetizers and all that was left to do was simple assembly and presentation.

























I created a simple appetizer that was a bite-sized spin on a caprese salad. It was full of flavor, satisfying and easy to eat. The addition of the fleur de sel and rich olive oil magically brought all the components together.



















Caprese Bites

Makes 24

12 Cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
12 Boconccini (cut in half)
12 Large basil leaves (cut lengthwise)
12 Salami, deli slice (cut in half)
Olive oil
Fleur de sel
Toothpicks

To assemble, place half of a tomato and half of a boconccini together. Wrap with a half of basil leaf and then half of a piece of salami. Secure with a toothpick. Lay on a platter and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Buttermilk Sauce


Two things come to mind when I hear Fried Green Tomatoes – the movie and the south. Inspired by the book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flag, the 1991 comedy-drama film was born. The premise is about a housewife who is unhappy with her life becomes friends with an old lady in a nursing home and is captivated by the tales she tells of people she used to know.




















Alternatively I associate fried green tomatoes as a time-honored southern dish. End of harvest tomatoes which are unripened are turned into crispy fried bites of goodness. They are customarily dipped in egg, coated in a mixture of cornmeal and flour then fried golden brown and sprinkled with salt. The process of frying brings out a hint of sweetness, and they become tart and tangy. The flavor is distinct and when mixed with the crispy fried breading it is very appealing and unique.























Since viewing the film several years ago, I have long been fascinated by these green fried disks of southern hospitality. Being a bay area native and resident, fried green tomatoes are not as prevalent as they are in the south region of the country. There is a relatively new dining destination in downtown Oakland called Pican which is a taste of the south in the bay area. I took a client out to lunch there a few months ago and saw the fried green tomatoes on the menu. This was a must try. They were crispy, sweet yet tangy and the sauce was a Cajun spicy buttermilk sauce. I knew that this would be on the list of items to recreate my own way.























I decided that I wanted a distinct crunch so I used polenta instead of the traditional cornmeal. While at the farmers market, one of the vendors had an entire bin of green tomatoes and it was sign that I need to finally make my version of fried green tomatoes. After a bit of experimentation, I came up with a recipe that was perfect. My husband and I enjoyed them on Halloween night while answering the door with the little trick or treaters.



















Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Buttermilk Sauce

4 lg. Green tomatoes
2 Eggs
½ C. Milk
1 C. Flour
½ C. Polenta
½ C. Panko bread crumbs
2 t. Salt
10 to 12 Grinds fresh pepper
2 t. Garlic powder
Canola oil for frying

Slice the tomatoes into ½ inch slices. Set aside. In the first bowl add the milk and eggs together and whisk. In the second bowl, add the flour. In the third bowl, add the polenta, panko, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix.

To prepare the tomatoes, first dredge in the flour and cover completely and shake off any excess. Then dip into the egg mixture and cover completely and let any excess drip off. Then dredge into the polenta mixture and cover completely and shake off excess. Continue to process all of the tomatoes.

In a large skillet, add about ½ inch to one inch of canola oil and heat on medium. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Be careful to not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels. Immediately sprinkle salt on each one.

Spicy Buttermilk Sauce

¼ C. Buttermilk
1/3 C. Mayonnaise
½ t. Cayenne pepper (add more if you like it spicy)
1 t. Fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Scallions, trimmed and sliced thin, both green and white (reserve a bit to sprinkle on top)

Add all of the above ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Either serve on top of the fried green tomatoes or serve on the side.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apple Fritter Poppers


The quintessential deep fried treat is the donut. A deep fried sweet dough with a glazed topping is one of life’s little pleasures that. The donut – a decadent little delight that makes so many people happy. My husband is one of those people who absolutely LOVE donuts. We strolled through Williams Sonoma several weeks ago and they were promoting all things donuts. Everything from the donut dough cutters to Bouchon Bakery donut mix. I must admit, they lured me in. I bought the cutter and the Bouchon mix.


























I have a bit of an obsession with collecting cookbooks. Do I use all of them for the recipes? The truth is no. I use them more like reading a magazine – the photos fascinate me along with getting inspiration from many of them. I am running out of room to store my over five hundred book collection. It may be time to do a bit of editing. However, I did add to the collection while on my trip to Williams Sonoma and picked up “Donuts” by Elinor Klivans. It is a delightful book that walks you through making donuts at home with the classics, new flavors and flavors from around the world.



















Making donuts has been on my bucket list for quite some time. Last Saturday was the day. My husband adores apple fritters. He goes to a small diner type restaurant every once in a while where they sell giant fritters that are literally ten inches in diameter. I may have one bite, but then the rest is enjoyed by him.

While leafing through my new donut cookbook, I came across apple fritters and knew that would be my first donut making adventure. Adapted the recipe slightly. It was super easy to make the dough since no yeast was required. I used a small one inch scooper that I typically use to make cookies. It turned out to be the perfect size to make little apple fritter poppers. The recipe includes a apple cider glaze which I made and also did a simple cinnamon and sugar topping.

I must admit, they were quite addictive and hard to eat just one. My husband absolutely loved them!



















Apple Fritter Poppers

1 C. Flour
¼ C. Sugar
1 t. Baking powder
½ t. Cinnamon
½ t. Salt
1/3 C. Milk
1 Egg
1 T. Lemon juice
Zest of half of a lemon
1 t. Vanilla
1 Large apple, cored, peeled and diced small
Canola oil for frying

In a large bowl stir together all of the dry ingredients. Make a well and add the wet ingredients and stir together well. Add the apple and mix together.

In a deep fryer or large sauce pan, pour the grease to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium until it reads 360 degrees. Test a bit of dough to ensure it is the correct temperature.

Using a one inch cookie scooper, drop about 4 to 5 scoops of the batter into the hot oil. Be sure to not overcrowd the oil. The fritters should float to the top and puff to about double their size. Deep fry until dark golden brown on the first side, about 2 minutes and then using a slotted spoon or thongs, flip over and cook for another minute. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat until the dough is gone.

Let cool if you are going to glaze and use a wire rack to let excess glaze drip. If you are going to make a cinnamon sugar mixture, then dip fairly soon after removing from the oil so the sugar mixture sticks.

















Cinnamon-Apple Glaze

1 C. Powdered sugar
½ t. Cinnamon
2 T. Apple cider or apple juice

In a medium bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon together and stir. Then add the apple cider and whisk together until smooth.

Cinnamon Sugar

1/2 C. Granulated sugar
1 t. Cinnamon

Mix well in a bowl.  Roll warm donuts in the sugar to ensure it sticks all over.






 
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